Constantine (Arabic: قسنطينة, romanized: Qusanṭīnah), also spelled Qacentina[5] or Kasantina, is the capital of Constantine Province in northeastern Algeria. During Roman times it was called Cirta and was renamed "Constantina" in honour of Emperor Constantine the Great. Located somewhat inland, Constantine is about 80 kilometres (50 miles) from the Mediterranean coast, on the banks of the Rhumel River.

Constantine
قسنطينة
Qusanṭīnah
Constantine
Constantine
Official seal of Constantine
Nickname: 
City of Bridges
Location of Constantine within Constantine Province
Location of Constantine within Constantine Province
Constantine is located in Algeria
Constantine
Constantine
Location within Algeria
Coordinates: 36°21′N 6°36′E / 36.350°N 6.600°E / 36.350; 6.600
CountryAlgeria
ProvinceConstantine Province
DistrictConstantine District
Cirta203 BC
Government
 • PresidentA. Chibane (2007–12)
Area
 • Total2,288 km2 (883 sq mi)
Elevation694 m (2,277 ft)
Population
 (2008)census[2] [3]
 • Total464,219
 • Density200/km2 (530/sq mi)
DemonymConstantinian
Time zoneUTC+1 (CET)
Postal code
250xx
Area code(+213) 031
ClimateCsa
Historical population
YearPop.±%
1832 25,000—    
1847 20,800−16.8%
1911 65,193+213.4%
1965 235,000+260.5%
1987 440,842+87.6%
Source: Cole[4]

Constantine is regarded as the capital of eastern Algeria and the commercial centre of its region and has a population of about 450,000 (938,475[6] with the agglomeration), making it the third largest city in the country after Algiers and Oran. There are several museums and historical sites located around the city. Constantine is often referred to as the "City of Bridges" because of the numerous picturesque bridges connecting the various hills, valleys, and ravines that the city is built on and around.

Constantine was named the Arab Capital of Culture in 2015.[7]

History edit

Ancient history edit

 
General view, Constantine, 1899

The ancient name of Constantine is Cirta and was the capital of Numidia.In 112 B.C., the city was the capital of the Numidian king Jugurtha, who defeated his half-brother Adherbal. The city later served as the base for Roman generals Quintus Caecilius Metellus Numidicus and Gaius Marius in their war against Jugurtha. Later, with the removal of King Juba I and the remaining supporters of Pompey in Africa (c. 46), Julius Caesar gave special rights to the citizens of Cirta, now known as Colonia Sittlanorum.

In 311 AD, during the civil war between emperor Maxentius and usurper Domitius Alexander (a former governor of Africa), the city was destroyed. Rebuilt in 313 AD, it was subsequently named in Latin as "Colonia Constantiniana" or "Constantina",[8] after emperor Constantine the Great, who had defeated Maxentius. During the Roman occupation of Constantine, the city exported wheat. Constantine the only city that lay on both of the Roman roads paved in Algeria.[9] Captured by the Vandals in 432, Constantine returned to the Byzantine Exarchate of Africa from 534 to 697. It was conquered by the Arabs in the 8th century, receiving the name of Qacentina, It was part of the region known to the Islamic world as Ifriqiya.

Modern history edit

The city recovered in the 12th century and under Almohad and Hafsid rule it was again a prosperous market, with links to Pisa, Genoa and Venice. After taking it from the Hafsids in 1529 it was intermittently part of Ottoman Empire, ruled by a Turkish bey (governor) subordinate to the dey of Algiers. Salah Bey, who ruled the city in 1770–1792, greatly embellished it and built much of the Muslim architecture still visible today. During the Ottoman reign of Constantine, merchants traded a variety of goods such as; agricultural products, animals, embroidered textiles, leather, precious metals, swords, and pistols.[10]

Siege of Constantine in October 1837
Ahmed Ben Mohamed Chérif, known as Ahmed Bey, Musée central de l'armée, Algiers

In 1826 the last bey, Ahmed Bey ben Mohamed Chérif, became the new head of state. He led a fierce resistance against French forces, which had invaded Algeria four years later. By 13 October 1837, the territory was captured by France, and from 1848 on until 1962 it was the centre of the Constantine Département. In 1880, while working in the military hospital in Constantine, Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran discovered that the cause of malaria is a protozoan. He observed the parasites in a blood smear taken from a soldier who had just died of malaria.[11] For this, he received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.[11] This was the first time that protozoa were shown to be a cause of disease. His work helped inspire researchers and veterinarians today to try to find a cure for malaria in animals.[11]

In 1934, Muslim anti-Jewish riots, the 1934 Constantine Pogrom, caused the death of 23 local Jews and 3 local Muslims, 81 people were injured on both sides of the conflict.[12]

During World War II, during the campaign in North Africa (1942–43), Allied forces used Constantine and the nearby cities of Sétif and Bone as operational bases.

Geography edit

 
Constantine, canyon & bridges

Constantine is situated on a plateau at an elevation 640 metres (2,100 ft) above sea level. The city is framed by a deep ravine and has a dramatic appearance. The city is very picturesque with a number of bridges over Rhumel River and a viaduct crossing the ravine. The ravine is crossed by seven bridges, including Sidi M'Cid bridge. Constantine is the railhead of a prosperous and diverse agricultural area. It is also a centre of the grain trade and has flour mills, a tractor factory, and industries producing textiles, wool, linen and leather goods.[citation needed] Algeria and Tunisia serve as its markets.

Climate edit

Constantine has a Mediterranean climate (Köppen climate classification Csa), with hot, dry summers and mild, moist winters.

Climate data for Constantine (Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport) (1991–2020, extremes 1913–2020)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 24.0
(75.2)
26.6
(79.9)
32.1
(89.8)
34.3
(93.7)
41.3
(106.3)
43.2
(109.8)
44.1
(111.4)
44.8
(112.6)
45.5
(113.9)
37.2
(99.0)
29.7
(85.5)
27.8
(82.0)
45.5
(113.9)
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) 12.4
(54.3)
13.2
(55.8)
16.6
(61.9)
19.8
(67.6)
25.2
(77.4)
31.0
(87.8)
35.0
(95.0)
34.6
(94.3)
29.1
(84.4)
24.3
(75.7)
17.5
(63.5)
13.4
(56.1)
22.7
(72.9)
Daily mean °C (°F) 7.4
(45.3)
7.9
(46.2)
10.7
(51.3)
13.4
(56.1)
17.9
(64.2)
23.0
(73.4)
26.6
(79.9)
26.6
(79.9)
22.3
(72.1)
17.9
(64.2)
12.0
(53.6)
8.5
(47.3)
16.2
(61.2)
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) 2.3
(36.1)
2.5
(36.5)
4.8
(40.6)
7.0
(44.6)
10.7
(51.3)
15.0
(59.0)
18.3
(64.9)
18.5
(65.3)
15.5
(59.9)
11.6
(52.9)
6.6
(43.9)
3.6
(38.5)
9.7
(49.5)
Record low °C (°F) −8.8
(16.2)
−10.2
(13.6)
−6.0
(21.2)
−3.5
(25.7)
−1.4
(29.5)
3.0
(37.4)
7.0
(44.6)
7.8
(46.0)
3.3
(37.9)
−2.1
(28.2)
−3.9
(25.0)
−4.8
(23.4)
−10.2
(13.6)
Average precipitation mm (inches) 64.8
(2.55)
54.6
(2.15)
57.0
(2.24)
51.6
(2.03)
40.9
(1.61)
14.8
(0.58)
4.0
(0.16)
19.4
(0.76)
35.9
(1.41)
39.5
(1.56)
53.3
(2.10)
66.2
(2.61)
502.0
(19.76)
Average precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 8.1 7.7 7.5 7.0 5.4 2.8 1.0 2.4 4.8 5.2 6.0 8.1 66.0
Average relative humidity (%) 76 73 72 70 65 54 42 48 60 68 75 76 65
Mean monthly sunshine hours 155.0 155.4 192.2 210.0 251.1 315.0 356.5 303.8 258.0 213.9 165.0 148.8 2,724.7
Mean daily sunshine hours 5.0 5.5 6.2 7.0 8.1 10.5 11.5 9.8 8.6 6.9 5.5 4.8 7.5
Source 1: NOAA[13]
Source 2: Deutscher Wetterdienst (extremes, 1913–1992, humidity, 1975–1986 and sun, 1975–1990)[14]

Main sights edit

 
US Army map of Constantine during the Second World War

The city is framed by a deep ravine and has a dramatic appearance. In 1911, Baedeker described it as "resembling the Kasba of Algiers, the picturesque charm of which has so far been marred by the construction of but a few new streets."[15]

Nearby are

The City of Bridges edit

The topography of the city is unique and it determines the need for bridges. At the end of the 19th century, Guy de Maupassant wrote: "Eight bridges used to cross this ravine. Six of these bridges are in ruins today." Today the most important bridges are:

Education edit

Constantine has in general four universities: two of them are downtown Constantine Mentouri Public University, designed by the Brazilian architect Oscar Niemeyer, and Algerian architect Rashid Hassaine, including Zerzara technical engineering pole, Zouaghi Slimane Geography and Earth Sciences Pole, and in the City of El-Khroub is the Institute of Veterinary Sciences. Emir Abdelkader University is one of the biggest Islamic universities with many faculties covering religious studies, foreign languages, and literature. Constantine's new town "nouvelle ville ali mendjeli" has two big universities: Université Constantine 2 known as "lella nsoumer" offers maths, computer and economy majors, and the new university is actually a university pole with more than 20,000 students, 17 faculties and more than 40,000 residents. It is now the largest African university under the name of "Université Salah Boubnider" known as "Université Constantine 3".

Transport edit

Constantine is served by Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport.

Constantine also owns its 14.7 km-long tram network serving the city centre at the airport and the main neighbourhoods of the metropolis Constantine tramway.

Twin towns - sister cities edit

Constantine is twinned with:

Notable people edit

Constantine has been the hometown of many noteworthy people in Algeria and France.

Further reading edit

References edit

  1. ^ "Datos". Mundomanz.com. Archived from the original on 2021-08-05. Retrieved 2020-05-29.
  2. ^ "(1998-2008)" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2011-07-21. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  3. ^ "Constantine (Province Capital, Constantine, Algeria) - Population Statistics, Charts, Map and Location". citypopulation.de. Archived from the original on 2022-03-20. Retrieved 2022-03-20.
  4. ^ Cole, Joshua (2019). Lethal Provocation : The Constantine Murders and the Politics of French Algeria. Cornell University Press. ISBN 9781501739415.
  5. ^ "Constantine-Algeria". Encyclopædia Britannica. Archived from the original on 17 July 2015. Retrieved 17 July 2015.
  6. ^ Office National des Statistiques, Recensement General de la Population et de l'Habitat 2008 Archived July 24, 2008, at the Wayback Machine 2008 population census. Accessed on 2016-01-27.
  7. ^ Utilisateur, Super. "Constantine Capital of Arab Culture 2015". www.unesco.dz. Archived from the original on 2018-02-21. Retrieved 2017-06-14.
  8. ^ Louis, René (1949). "A La Recherche de Cirta Regia Capitale des Rois Numides". Hommes Et Mondes. 10 (39): 276–287. Archived from the original on 29 April 2024. Retrieved 19 February 2020.
  9. ^ Thomas, Benjamin (1955). "Fortress City of Constantine, Algeria". The Scientific Monthly. 81 (3): 130–137. Archived from the original on 2024-04-30. Retrieved 2024-04-30.
  10. ^ Cole, Joshua (2019). Lethal Provocation: The Constantine Murders and the Politics of French Algeria. Cornell University Press. p. 17. ISBN 9781501739415.
  11. ^ a b c Bruce-Chuvatt LJ (July 1981). "Alphonse Laveran's discovery 100 years ago and today's global fight against malaria". J R Soc Med. 74 (7): 531–536. doi:10.1177/014107688107400715. PMC 1439072. PMID 7021827.
  12. ^ Cole, Joshua (December 2012). "Constantine Before the Riots of August 1934: Civil Status, anti-Semitism, and the Politics of Assimilation in Interwar French Algeria". Journal of North African Studies. 17 (5): 839. doi:10.1080/13629387.2012.723432.
  13. ^ "Constantine Climate Normals for 1991-2020". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Archived from the original on 9 October 2023. Retrieved 9 October 2023.
  14. ^ "Klimatafel von Constantine / Algerien" (PDF). Baseline climate means (1961–1990) from stations all over the world (in German). Deutscher Wetterdienst. Archived (PDF) from the original on 20 September 2021. Retrieved 17 October 2016.
  15. ^ "General View, Constantine, Algeria". World Digital Library. 1899. Archived from the original on 2013-09-28. Retrieved 2013-09-26.
  16. ^ "Musée Gustave MERCIER - Constantine (Algérie)". Engival.fr. Archived from the original on 2013-03-23. Retrieved 2013-03-12.
  17. ^ "Jumelages et coopérations". grenoble.fr (in French). Grenoble. Archived from the original on 2015-03-16. Retrieved 2020-11-03.
  18. ^ "Le printemps de Sousse est de retour". letemps.com.tn (in French). Le Temps. Archived from the original on 2015-12-26. Retrieved 2020-11-03.

External links edit